Statistical Preview: Worcestershire

Wednesday 14th April 2021
Written by Stephen Martin
Photography by: David Griffin

Derbyshire’s official return to their headquarters comes 575 days after the players last left the field at Derby having defeated Sussex inside three days in 2019.

Their opening home game of the 2021 County Championship sees them pitted against Worcestershire; Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match and looks at the statistical highlights of the past.

Derbyshire and Worcestershire have played each other 145 times with Derbyshire winning on 48 occasions, Worcestershire winning 44 times, with 53 draws. There were also two additional matches abandoned without a ball being bowled, in 1946 and 1969.

They first met in 1899 at Derby in a high-scoring draw as Walter Sugg scored a century before lunch – at the time, only the second player to perform the feat for Derbyshire, while Worcestershire won the return fixture by an innings and 218 runs at New Road. That result remains the largest margin of victory by Worcestershire over Derbyshire.

Meanwhile, Derbyshire’s biggest win over Worcestershire was by an innings and 234 runs at Chesterfield in 1933 when Stan Worthington scored an unbeaten 200 in Derbyshire’s 513-8 declared. The great Tommy Mitchell then took over, taking 5-20 and 6-44 as Worcestershire were dismissed for 83 and 196.

That 513-8 remains Derbyshire’s highest innings score against Worcestershire, although their highest total at Derby is 467-5 in 2016 which included 204 by Billy Godleman, the highest individual score for Derbyshire against Worcestershire.

Derbyshire won the last match between the two sides, by 82 runs in a splendid match played at Kidderminster after flooding at New Road forced the game to be moved. Few observers expected the game to reach even the third day, never mind the fourth, after both sides were dismissed on the opening day.

Derbyshire’s 108 was only slightly bettered by Worcestershire’s 113 as the bowlers held sway throughout a dramatic first day.

The second innings’ provided a remarkable contrast; Derbyshire scoring 377 with Tom Lace making a fine unbeaten 132, Wayne Madsen 60 and Tony Palladino 58.

In Worcestershire’s second innings Callum Ferguson scored a bold 127 but with insufficient support from the other end, Derbyshire prevailed during the afternoon session on the final day. During the course of the innings, Fynn Hudson-Prentice, whose final analysis was 20-12-42-3, bowled eight-consecutive maiden overs.

Derbyshire’s batsmen have registered 46 centuries with Chris Adams, Kim Barnett, Wayne Madsen, and John Wright all scoring three apiece, and in 1981, both opening batsmen, Wright, and Barry Wood, scored hundreds against Worcestershire at Chesterfield, adding 283 for the first wicket, the highest partnership for any wicket against Worcestershire.

One year earlier, however, they recorded – for the first time in Derbyshire’s history – the remarkable feat of a century partnership in both innings, at Worcester. Only one more occurrence has ever been recorded, by Iain Anderson and Barnett against Kent at Chesterfield in 1983.

Two wicketkeepers have scored hundreds against Worcestershire, James Pipe making a memorable 133 at Chesterfield in 2008 and Harvey Hosein 108 at Worcester in 2016.

In 1992, at Derby, three Derbyshire batsmen scored hundreds in the same game against Worcestershire for the only time – Adams, Peter Bowler and Steve Goldsmith.

Five of Derbyshire’s 92 last wicket partnerships which have produced 50 runs or more have been made against Worcestershire, the highest being 123 by Tim Groenewald and Steffan Jones at Worcester in 2010; only Alan Hill and Martin Jean-Jacques with 132 against Yorkshire at Sheffield in 1986 have bettered it.

That partnership saw Jones make a belligerent 86, the highest score ever made by a Derbyshire number 11 batsman.

Derbyshire’s fastest first-class hundred was scored against Worcestershire by Adams – off 61 balls in 57 minutes. In all he scored 140 not out off 72 balls and twice scored 24 runs off an over. His last 39 runs came off just 11 balls.

Bill Bestwick was the first bowler to take five Worcestershire wickets in an innings, at Derby in 1899 when he took 5-86. He took 5 in an innings a further six times, and Les Jackson also took five in an innings seven times. Cliff Gladwin, however, took five in an innings eight times, including 9-41 at Amblecote in 1952, the best innings analysis against Worcestershire.

Nonetheless, it was the leg-spinner, Tommy Mitchell who took 5 the most times; on  10 occasions he took 5 Worcestershire wickets with a best of 8-22 at Amblecote in 1934.

The best innings figures at Derby are Bill Bestwick’s 8-19 in 1922, and the best recent performances are Mark Footitt’s 6-115 and Wes Durston’s 5-19 in the same match at Derby in 2014.

The rarer feat of taking ten wickets in a match has been performed 15 times – 3 times each by Bestwick, Gladwin and Mitchell with a best of 16-84 by Gladwin at Amblecote in 1952 – his aforementioned 9-41 followed by 7-43 in the second innings. Only William Mycroft’s analysis of 17-103 can improve on Gladwin’s remarkable feat.

Gladwin certainly appears to have enjoyed playing against Worcestershire – he registered the only occurrence of a Derbyshire player scoring a half century and taking ten wickets in a match against them when he made 59 and took 10-140 at Chesterfield in 1949.

Just two hat tricks have been taken against Worcestershire – both by Les Jackson – at Kidderminster (1958) and Derby (1960).

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